I (Josh) was recently speaking with the youth pastor of a large church. I asked what he thought the number one epidemic is among youth. “Loneliness,” he replied. “I don’t know a kid in my youth group who isn’t struggling with it.” These were Christian kids with mostly Christian parents who loved them, yet somehow they all felt so alone and were hurting.
A few years ago, I (Ben) was mentoring a Christian student named Eric who was struggling with anger, poor self-image, and pornography. All the while, Eric was attempting to lead Bible studies, share his faith with others, and stop returning to his struggles. He wanted so badly to be free, and to overcome these issues that prevented him from loving others and enjoying life. Eric tried talking to his ministry directors, and memorizing Scripture about why anger and lust are wrong, but things didn’t get better. His faith was having little impact on his day-to-day struggles.
These are just two of the many stories we have witnessed around the globe in recent years.
Even before COVID-19, countless people were experiencing hurts and struggles at devastating rates. Many are struggling to survive, let alone thrive and experience the abundant life Jesus promises. We consistently hear of Christian influencers and leaders making headlines for their mistreatment of others, getting caught up in immoral choices, and struggling to live and lead from a place of wholeness. It’s common to witness our friends, Christian or not, struggling with their self-image, being reactive or defensive in relationships, and coping with stress through escapist behaviors.
Even those who hold deep Christian beliefs struggle to live in victory due to their painful life experiences. This, in turn, prevents them from experiencing the thriving life Christ has for them. It also prevents them from inviting others into a vibrant experience with Jesus.
Young People Are Struggling
Young people are really struggling as these statistics show:
- 70% of teens say anxiety and depression are major problems amongst their peers.
- Those ages 16 to 24 are 63 times more lonely than those over 75 years old.
- Only 4% of Gen Z hold to a biblical worldview.
- 76% of men and women ages 18-24 regularly seek out porn.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people.
I (Josh) experienced many of those struggles growing up. I endured an abusive and alcoholic father and a critical mother. And I was raped by a farmhand for seven years; the first time at just six years old. These experiences ultimately led to doubts about God, anger, and fear that I’d never be able to love or be loved. My childhood led me to develop unhealthy patterns that continued for decades.
I (Ben) also experienced many struggles as a child and teen. My parents were in full-time ministry with a large Christian organization, yet my dad was often angry, distant, and abusing alcohol. As I grew up, I lived in fear of him and struggled to fit in anywhere. By the age of eight, I was riddled with mental health issues, and a sense of worthlessness. Eventually I became addicted to food and porn. I began dealing with suicidal thoughts. I wondered if anyone would care if I ceased to exist. Yet all the while I was attending church, involved in youth groups, and reading my Bible. I suffered in silence and learned to hide what I was going through for fear of what others might say.
If the church is not whole and thriving, it will struggle to be relevant and offer the hope of the Gospel to the world around it.
They’re also asking, “How does Christianity offer a life of wholeness here and now?” These questions directly relate to their hurt and brokenness that need answers.
There Is Great Hope
Medical and mental health professionals confirm that much of the dysfunction and disconnectedness we experience in life stems from unaddressed or unresolved relational and emotional hurts. And the Bible confirms this as well. These hurts leave us with unfulfilled God-given longings that we seek to fulfill through unhealthy behaviors. Yet, our struggles aren’t random; they’re signals that when answered, can pave our way towards a thriving life.
When we experience the fulfillment of our God-given needs and longings (things like acceptance, love, affirmation, safety) by God and others, we start to heal at a root level. Just as negative experiences of unmet longings lead to unwanted behaviors, positive experiences of met longings lead to healing and thriving.
In the face of these challenges, there is great hope. Both of us have experienced freedom and healing through biblical, time-tested, and research-supported principles. We have witnessed God use these principles in the lives of tens of thousands of others and developed something we’ve deemed The Wholeness Apologetic–a biblical understanding of how we heal from brokenness, overcome struggles, and return to a life of wholeness. It’s time for these principles to be made accessible to the masses and for the church to see a movement of wholeness. It’s time for a Resolution.
Join The Resolution Movement
I (Josh) and Resolution Director, Ben Bennett, have started a worldwide movement to address these problems through a combination of neuroscience and the changeless truth of the Bible.
Even though we couldn’t have foreseen COVID-19 when we began planning the launch of Resolution a few years ago, it is amazing how God sovereignly orchestrated this content. Not only is Resolution relevant to the current state of our culture in 2020, but it is even more relevant in our new normal of sheltering in place, social distancing, and the rise of struggles many are experiencing due to COVID-19.
Through live events, a podcast, YouTube videos, and social/web presence, youth, parents, and youth leaders are equipped with biblical truth and brain science to overcome struggles and experience a thriving life with Christ and others.
Will you join the Resolution and help others find hope, healing, and freedom?
- Mark your calendar for the launch of the Resolution Podcast on May 4, 2020. Listen, rate, review, and share the podcast.
- Check out resolutionmovement.org for more info and resources!
- Share the Resolution Movement on social media. Use the Resolution Media Kit for images to post about the movement. Use the below sample post descriptions as a guide, with the provided hashtags:
Youth are facing high levels of anxiety, loneliness, and shame. The @ResolutionMovement combines biblical truth and brain science to help them find freedom! #resolutionmovement #struggles #teen #youthministry
I’m excited to be part of the @ResolutionMovement launching 5/4 with @benvbennett and @joshdmcdowell. Check it out!
#resolutionmovement #struggles #teen #youthministry
Our struggles aren’t random; they’re signals that, when answered, can pave our way towards a thriving life. @resolutionmovement #resolutionmovement #struggles #teen #youthministry
We are facing a global epidemic. Many are hurting, lonely, and struggling, but not finding the biblical answers available to them. @resolutionmovement #resolutionmovement #struggles #teen #youthministry